Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blood Moons and Signs in the Heavens

In the dark of the early morning on the East Coast, behind a veil of clouds, the sky turned to blood.  It was a blood moon, following an eclipse, on the very first night of Passover.  This Pesach Blood Moon has freaked out many of the more-easily-freaked-out amongst my co-religionists.  A sign!  A message in the heavens!  Jesus will return soon!

I'll admit it's a cool conjunction.  Even more cool, given Pesach, is what the earth would look like.  If I'm interpreting the science correctly, the cause of the blood moon is our atmosphere, which filters out light in the blue spectrum.  That leaves the red light to pass through our atmosphere and to bathe the moon.  Meaning: viewed from the moon, the Earth would be surrounded by a brilliantly glowing, blood-red ring.  It would look like the sky of our blue-green world had turned to dragon's blood.

Please don't tell this to John Hagee.  It won't help.

But what this cool event does not appear to be, in any meaningful way, is a sign.  How could it be?  Why would it be?

The smaller member of a binary planetary system in orbit around a modest yellow star passes into the shadow of the larger planet.  It is bathed in certain wavelengths of light, producing a color that just happens to mirror the color of oxygen-bearing hemoglobin, the complex metalloprotein which supports the pulmonary processes of the arguably-sentient bipeds that are the dominant life-form on the larger planet.

Why this would have anything to do with the heart of Christian faith is beyond me.

It does not speak to the scale on which we live and choose and act.  Faith is what guides our actions as free beings. It is the heart of our ethical and moral behavior.  It is our purpose.  The actions and cycles of the moon have nothing to do with that.

Why would they?  I mean, seriously, I say this as a person of faith who believes in God.  If God wants to talk to us, God talks to us.  God speaks through prophets, who speak our language.  God manifests in human beings, who tell us stories and challenge us to live into our purpose as beings that share God's gift of awareness.  God speaks through creation--and through us--in ways that do not require futzing around opaquely with orbits and eclipses.

Faith is also what gives coherence to our understanding of where we fit into the vastness of creation.  That creation is impossibly immense, manifesting reality on such a huge scale that our Earth and its moon are as significant as two pebbles on a rocky shore.

If, at sunset, I walk that shore, and on a promontory see a little blue rock casting a shadow on a little white pebble, that doesn't have anything to do with what Jesus came here to do.

If we want to learn that, there are other places we look.

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